A center to boost digital literacy

The College of Arts & Sciences ENGL 105 course, required for all students, is an example of how digital media is incorporated into classes at Carolina. Instructors use project-based homework to teach students how to write in professional and academic genres. Some projects require the use of video and other digital tools. But what if an instructor or student is unaware of the various software, production techniques, and visual and audio design possibilities?

The University Libraries Media and Design Center can help.

Located in the Robert B. House undergraduate library, the Media and Design Center was born out of the merger of the Media Resources Center and the Digital Design Lab. These two services merged over a year ago, said Winifred Metz, media library and MDC chief, but the name change became official in January 2021.

Although MDC’s physical labs are currently not open to the campus community due to the pandemic, the center still offers media classes through Zoom sessions or its website and a remote service for anyone on campus who needs help creating and understanding different types of visual media.

The MDC supports the campus by providing digital literacy education, distance support and media production resources, research support and film programming, as well as a curated physical and digital collection of film, television and other types of visual media for the University. It aims to meet the needs of as many departments as possible on campus, while working both on film and media consumption and analysis, and directly consulting with faculty and instructors on how to use these technologies in the classroom.

MDC’s physical labs offer computers with software for film design, visual testing, web development, and print media production, as well as an audio lab and podcast studio.

“There is a digital literacy component in the ENGL 105 course curriculum, so we do a lot to support students’ visual and digital communication skills, helping students create digital media like short films, messages. public service, visual essays, TED-style talks or podcasts. Metz said. “Anything that can help students visually communicate their research or projects. “

Beyond ENGL 105, Metz said the reach of the MDC is wide, helping instructors in everything from nursing and public health to women and gender studies and foreign languages. The MDC also partners with Adobe and manages Course Development Grants for Teachers to help instructors make better use of different types of Adobe software in their teaching. These types of courses differ depending on whether the class is made up of undergraduate or graduate students, but Metz said they try to work with everyone, in any department, center or school.

“One of the things that I think is so important about the work we do and the services we provide at MDC is that we help people develop or hone their visual and digital communication skills, which are of increasingly needed in many areas. Metz said.

The MDC provides personal consultations to faculty, staff and students. Metz said she and her team are ready to help at any stage of the development or production process.

“Even if it’s just a hint of a hint, or if someone has never achieved what they envision or has been affected and doesn’t know where to start,” Metz said. “We’re here to help them get started, starting with a storyboard through to the sections or the end credits.”

The MDC also offers online training with step-by-step instructions or videos for students and faculty. These trainings include videos detailing how to filter recording on Zoom, dos and don’ts in podcast, introduction courses for Adobe Audition and Premiere and other “how to” guides to realize visual and audio projects.

In addition to providing different types of training to help students and faculty better understand how to use the resources available to them, Metz said the MDC aims to support people’s personal and creative endeavors. Here are some things the MDC has helped the campus community with:

  • university research,
  • provide advice for camera or recording equipment,
  • book cover design for publishing authors,
  • poster search and
  • digital literacy engagement with prospective students through the Uplift project.

Metz likes to joke that the Robert B. House Undergraduate Library is the “home away from home” of the Caroline community. She is amazed at the number of people on campus who receive undergraduate library instruction and support, many of whom choose to return to MDC to learn more or develop their skills.

The MDC is aimed at both beginners and experts alike, and Metz and her team members are ready to do anything to help faculty, staff and students achieve the best possible projects. From podcasts and short films to TikToks and visual essays, Metz said she wants people to know the MDC is available and ready to help.

“Whether it’s an academic, extracurricular, or personal and creative program, we’re here to support the Carolina community,” Metz said.

About Elaine Morales

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